Crushing the Urban Juice Press’ 2-day Kickstarter Cleanse

The truth is I didn’t. And I am so embarrassed of my story.

Urban Juice Press, Ottawa’s premier juicing company asked me to try out their beginner juice cleanse detox program called The 2-Day Kickstarter. I was like, “you bet, I’d love to try this, bring on the juice!”. I mean, the juices are delicious, fresh, organic, raw and sourced locally. You can’t get any healthier than that. I eat really well generally, and felt I could use a little boost to cleanse away my bad summer habits.

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I started my cleanse on a hot Friday morning. I had the day off, I was going to take it easy. I had 9 juices to drink, and felt like it would be plenty. I started this whole thing with an eager, positive and open-minded spirit. I mean what can go wrong? The instructions said that I would be irritable and have a slight headache (not me! I’m strong).

These juices look so yummy! Can I just start already?!

Because I had 9 drinks a day, I wrote up a schedule to ration them off throughout the day. Drinking fluids is not the same as chewing on food. Personally, I feel like it’s more difficult to tell when you’re actually full or weather you have consumed too much fluids. I felt like the schedule would help me pace myself and make sure I have enough to consume all day. It’s really all just a mind game, and your weapon is will power.

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Early morning start to the day with a Skin Tonic!

urban juice press cleanse Ottawa Foodie Fashion Blog detox
Refreshing morning snack!

urban juice press cleanse Ottawa Foodie Fashion Blog blogger
This is lunch! A thick, creamy and filling smoothy loaded with matcha green tea flavours! Tastes like green tea ice-cream to me!
All that to say, breakfast, lunch and my afternoon snacks were seamless. But at 4 pm and 7 out of 9 bottles in, I hit a wall.

Crash and burn. It’s dinner time, and I don’t want to make supper for the family. So, I sent my husband and son off to eat pizza, while I had a nap to ward off my migraine. I had lots of water all day, what is going on with me? Even after my nap, my head was killing me. I was nauseous and couldn’t stand the sight of putting any more fluids in me. That’s it, I’m cheating. I munched on half a head of raw cauliflower… still I felt sick. Then I called Michael “GET ME PIZZA, NOW!!!” Sure enough a few minutes after the pizza, I started feeling better. But then, I felt like a failure.

I can’t believe my body did not tolerate juicing. I have gone hours without eating on busy work days and have felt fine. Some are saying it’s caffeine withdrawal, but I chalk it up to hyponatremia: over hydration. The reason I know this, is because I rarely drink water. I know it’s a bad habit, but I have to force myself to have at least one glass a day. That Friday, I had 7 x 250 ml of juices plus another 3 x 250 ml of water, that’s a total of 2.5 litres! That’s a lot of liquids for someone who barely drinks water. I am no doctor (although I am a Biochemistry student with a Science degree!), but the symptoms of hyponatremia were enough to convince me. The reason I felt better after the pizza, could be because I was replenishing my electrolytes with the salty pizza.

The next day, I decided not to continue with the juice cleanse, and instead gave the drinks to my son and husband. They loved them! I had a fairly light caloric day, not very hungry overall, but man was I feeling light and flat!

How to do a juice cleanse, properly.

The moral of this story is, I love Urban Juice Press, and my failure has nothing to do with their product. Trust me, otherwise I would not be writing this post. The goal of my post is to give you a few pointers on how you can survive a juice cleanse, and crush it every time.

  1. Try a pre-cleanse before you start your cleanse. This means drinking plenty of water (with lemon), eating whole organic fruits and vegetables that are uncooked.
  2. Cut processed foods, sugar, alcohol and coffee at least three days before.
  3. Get lots of sleep.
  4. Be in a restful state (be alone if you can, no children or partner to distract or irritate you).
  5. Have plenty of things to do to keep your hands and mind busy (run errands, get a massage, go window shopping).
  6. Keep your physical activity light (yoga, walking, stretching).
  7. Have a support system, a buddy who can guide you through it. Preferably, someone who has done a cleanse in the past.
  8. Do it when you’re ready and if you fail, try try again!
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Diner en Blanc Ottawa: All-White Menu inspired by Metro

As promised in my Diner en Blanc Ottawa post, I finally had a chance to do my groceries and prepare some of the dishes that were on my inspirational all-white menu. Typical me, I just can’t stick to any recipes, not even my own. So here is my disclaimer, front-and-centre: I went a bit off course! It turns out, my own menu ideas inspired me to think outside the box, and stay inside the season!

Since delicious food is at the centre of Diner en Blanc, this is what my original menu looked like:

White menu ideas for Diner en Blanc Ottawa Fashion Blog


Brie cheese with baguette, Deviled egg whites filled with garlic goat cheese, Crackers and white bean dip, Salted Popcorn, Cauliflower, mushroom, radish and white asparagus with tzatziki


Cold cream of leek soup, Chicken & Penne in Alfredo, Bocconcini & béchamel pizza, Roasted cauliflower and Parmesan crust, and Potato Salad


Vanilla cupcakes, White chocolate covered bananas, Powdered donuts, Sugar cookies, Vanilla Macarons, Lemon cheese cake sprinkled with coconut shavings

Do you remember a while back, when I attended the most amazing dinner hosted by Metro Ontario and Jessica Mulroney? Well, Metro really impressed me that night, and I knew I wanted to work with them. Metro is a main sponsor of Diner en Blanc this year, so creating this post using Metro ingredients couldn’t be a better fit.

I finally had the chance to pop into my local Metro (Elmvale), after they completed all the renovations (as promised at the event). WOW! What a difference. It’s an entirely new vibe. The layout hasn’t really changed, but it now has a fresh, much-needed facelift. Everything just looks more appetizing. The renos seem to have impacted the staff too, they just seemed more friendly, in a better mood and really helpful. Honestly, it was a great shopping experience. I picked up most of the ingredients (some of which were on sale) for my all-white menu, and was lucky to find fresh local veggies like cauliflower (perfect!). I also found my white roses on sale!

Baguette & Brie

Diner en blanc Ottawa Fashion Blog White dinner menu idea baguette and brie

This one is a Parisian classic and no-brainer. Baguette and brie is easy to pack, makes little to no mess and should be simple to polish off! I bought Metro’s Parisian style baguette and tried the St-Albert brie, because, well, you gotta keep it local folks!

Crudités blanc & Tzatziki

Diner en blanc Ottawa Fashion Blog White dinner menu idea crudite with tzatziki

This is where you can have fun and go off-road if you wish! I used endive, button mushrooms and cauliflower that I purchased at Metro. I also had loads of white zucchini in my garden, so I chopped some of those too. I couldn’t find white asparagus ( most likely not in season) or lobok radish. The light Summer Fresh Tzatziki was on sale! PS- it’s really good!

White Naan Pizza & Bocconcini

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I found these tiny naan breads and made a quick pizza using Tres Stelle bocconcini and white button mushrooms (both on sale!). I added some curry and fresh garden basil to mine, and  my son Victor ate the plain one for dinner tonight.

Powdered Donuts & Popcorn

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I love how these photos turned out, so gourmand and delish! I usually don’t like powdered donuts, but these particular ones were so fresh and moist. They were also on sale! The popcorn is White Cheddar Skinny Pop which was… you guessed it, on sale! Seriously, I was lucky. I sprinkled some extra confectionary sugar on the donuts, and some got on the cheesy popcorn… OMG! I think I just invented the a new Chicago style popcorn. I’ll call this one Ontario Style 😉

At the end of the day, when you’re packing your meals for Diner en Blanc Ottawa , make sure you bring enough to keep you full, and something that packs easily. You can use containers like mason jars that can double as serving ware. They can also dress a table and will do a great job at holding liquids. By adding a little something to your table, like flowers and a killer outfit, you can make an ordinary moment, truly extraordinary!

Although the food doesn’t have to be white, sometimes it’s nice to go all-out and stick to a specific theme. You know, placing limitations and constraints on ourselves makes us more creative! But seriously, don’t look at this as extra work. It’s your chance to be part of a spectacular event in Ottawa and your opportunity to bring it to the next level with creative décor, gourmet food and beautiful clothes, while celebrating with close friends (and making new ones!) all in an incredible secret setting. This is what Diner en Blanc is truly about – an experience you will never forget.

Regardless, Metro is here to help us all re-create the magic of Diner en Blanc, even if we chose to stay at home. (BUT REALLY, PLEASE DON’T!)

I hope my all-white menu ideas inspire your meal for Diner en Blanc, and if they do, I can’t wait to hear all about it!

A big thank you to Metro Ontario who supported this blog post.

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White & Whimsy: XLusive ‘Diner en Blanc’ Ottawa survival guide

Brace yourselves, Ottawa! I have an announcement to make that collides food with fashion and I need your undivided attention please.

Thank you.

Diner en Blanc is coming to Ottawa on August 11, 2016 and you need to be there! The problem is, it’s a secret. As in, I have no details about the venue. Also, I can’t promise that you can come. And, there’s no food to eat or tables and chairs to sit on. You’re going to have to trek it all yourself too. Do I have your attention now?

It sounds crazy, but Diner en Blanc is an old Parisian tradition that happens all over the world and brings together thousands of people to share a meal in the most elegant and unlikely way. Think of it as an all-white “flash mob picnic & dance party”.

I may not know much about the details of this event, but here is what I do know… and what you should too:

  1. Sign up here to register you and a guest on the list. There is a long coveted waiting list and it will be impossible to attend if your name is not on it. First come, first serve. So sign up! (Go now, and come back… I’ll wait for you…)
  2. Now that you’re signed up… Think all white, everything. Your clothes, your shoes, your table cloth, your menu, your cloth-napkins. No ifs, ands or buts! Violators wearing ivory, bone or off-white will be denied entry. Yes, it’s that strict. But it’s gonna look so nice!!! Diner en Blanc Ottawa 2016 Fashion Blog
  3. Yes, I said table and chairs. That includes, the right size bistro table and chairs, white table cloth, white cloth napkins (used to whip in the air signalling the inauguration of the party!) white cutlery, china, stemwear and your gourmet meal packed in your cutest picnic basket (white preferably!). “The table must be square, foldable, and easy to carry. The size must be between 28 and 32 inches (71 and 81 cm). The table does not have to be white as it will be covered with a white tablecloth.” Please read all the F.A.Q.s carefully for more precise details. There is no way I can get it all in this post! PS- I found some great table options at IKEA!Diner en Blanc Ottawa 2016 Fashion Food Blog
  4. Plan your menu. Something that will pack nicely and is easy to eat outdoors. For serious guests who are looking for inspiration, I have planned an all-white menu courtesy of Metro Ontario, one of Diner en Blanc Ottawa Sponsors. Don’t forget to bring a garbage bag to clean up after yourself!White menu ideas for Diner en Blanc Ottawa Fashion Blog
  5. White wine and bubbles are the drink of choice, but all alcoholic beverages must be purchased in advanced. “You can also order your meal in advance. Catered meals and beverages are made available for pre-purchase on the e-store at the time of registration, up until approximately 10 days prior to the event. See your e-store for specific details and closing dates.”
  6. Plan your outfit and go all out, all white (white out! haha) This is a posh event, so bring your A game. Hats, umbrellas (duh! rain or shine event), fascinators, anything goes as long as it’s white! Wear comfortable shoes too, because there will be dancing and you never know where the event will take place.Diner en Blanc Ottawa 2016 Fashion Blogger
  7. Patiently wait your turn to receive your invitation and R.S.V.P. without hesitation to secure your spot! (Eeek- I just got my email!!)
  8. Tell all your friends to read this post and do the same.


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#FOMO Ottawa: Your guide to high rolling at the Casino Lac-Leamy in Gatineau

I’ve lived in Ottawa for just over 15 years, and by now I feel that I have experience most of what Ottawa has to offer, which is why I love discovering new places and things in the city. We tend to forget that there is a whole new place next door, waiting to be discovered! I vowed, not long ago, that I would try and get my feet wet, and learn a little bit more about the gems hiding away in Gatineau, which is why I am so happy to share this post with you.

I was recently invited to spend a fabulous VIP evening with the gracious folks of the Casino Lac Leamy‘s PR team. I almost forgot how much fun it is to party with the Quebecois! They have an immense passion for life and all things food, culture, music and entertainment. We chatted, wined and dined and had the opportunity to hear first hand about all the amazing experiences that the casino has to offer. From first class dining, to adrenaline pumping games and gorgeous views of the city, there is no shortage of amusement on the other side of the bridge.

This year, Casino Lac-Leamy is a sponsor of the RBC Bluesfest and a big part of their message is that your night doesn’t have to end after the concerts are over. So, grab a $10 uber across the river and keep the party going! No doubt you’ve heard the commercials. I suggested they organize a fairy ride to bring you there. Can you image how much fun that would be?!

The night started off with an exclusive boat ride on Leamy lake. This boat and tour is exclusively reserved for high rollers, as a way to thank their loyal clients. I was impressed, to say the least, and most of all flattered to take part in the entire thing. I had the honour of popping the bubbly and we toasted to a fun girls night out!

Casino Lac Leamy Gatineau Ottawa Fashion Blog fountain
This 225 foot fountain is a true Casino Lac-Leamy landmark.

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We then headed over to Arome Seafood and Grill, one of three restaurants located inside the Casino. We sat on the lovely terrace and had the tender 70 day dry-aged beef with lobster tail for dinner (YUM!) The appetizer was a crab and fish cake, and an assortment of sweets for dessert to end the night. It’s hard to tell in the photo (sorry bad lighting), but the sculptures on the tray are completely edible and made of sugar. We had a mini roulette table on our tray. The level of detail is astounding! All the work is done by an 84 year old confectioner who works full-time producing exquisite sugar sculptures all day, every day.

The image of the fridge (sorry to my vegans and vegetarians) is a one-of-a-kind cutting edge process of aging meat. Arome receives their beef aged at 35 days, and they age it for an additional 35 days: 70 days in total! The aging process helps to tenderize the beef and release different flavours you otherwise wouldn’t get in the meat. The fridge is openly displayed at the entrance of the restaurant and vigilantly monitored by the chefs.

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Now we party! I’ll have to admit, after all that food, I was very sleepy and not in the party mood. But once we started playing in the Zone, my energy levels kicked in! The Zone is crazy! Like, you need a short attention span to survive. There is so much going on, but it’s so much fun at the same time. I played roulette for the first time and won a cool $43. Not bad, not bad! The hosts on the main stage are so much fun and super entertaining. It’s amazing to watch them go from one game to the other and keep up with the pace. I would fail at this job, I think.

Because mama knows when to cashout, we left the Zone on a positive note and headed to Alea night club, the angular dome on the second floor. I really wish I wasn’t a grandma that night. I totally would have stayed to dance, the music was awesome. (Note: don’t book a huge meal and go dancing on the same night… it’s not gonna happen!)

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If you’re just scrolling through the post quickly, the least you can do is grab my tips on making the most out of your Casino Lac-Leamy Experience!

  1. Try the Brazilian BBQ dinner on Friday and Saturday nights at Arome. It’s grilled and served on the terrace and only costs $37 for AYCE!! (All you can eat)
  2. Get the girls together and experience 5 star dining like no other at Le Baccara. The prices and service are not as intimidating as you think.
  3. It’s a $15 Uber ride from the Glebe to the Casino.
  4. Do you have a boat? Awesome! Dock your boat at the Casino’s marina and walk right in! PS- it’s the only Casino in the world that has a marina directly attached to it!
  5. If you like live music and cover bands, the party is always happening at Bar 7. Also, I saw a lot of cute boys… (where the single ladies at?)
  6. You can now play “Win for Life” on a slot machine. There have already been 2 winners! (Can you imagine?!)
  7. BRUNCH people, BRUNCH! If you love to brunch, make sure you call in ahead of time and book your reso at Arome. It’s supposed to be out of this world!
  8. Treat yourself to a night stay at the Hilton, book your spa day experiences or lounge on the poolside patio.
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